By the time I arrived at Tommy’s I half expected the battle for the castle to be all but over, however it seems that I hadn’t missed too much action and events were still in full swing.
With both sides seemingly equally matched this year the battle had been raging for two days, pretty much to the pattern of boring predictability of the past two decades. Cannons packed with dried horse dung were constantly firing over the rat encampment within the far reaches of the grounds, buckets of banana skins and soapy water were, as always, being poured from the gatehouse roof in an attempt to slip up any attempt to cross the broken draw bridge and Tommy was down in the cellar organizing a constant supply of refreshments.
Things, however, took a turn in the rat’s favour when an air of noiselessness fell over the castle some half an hour after I had heard a strange rumbling noise late Friday afternoon. Initially I assumed the rats had begun to admit defeat and were quietly packing up their arsenal, but Rastius (leader of the rat revolt) showed no sign of waning as he and I battled back and forth on the stairs of the central keep. That was until Barty rather politely, and somewhat bizarrely, enquired as to whether either of us would care for a creamed asparagus vol-au-vent.
Continuing our battle aloft, all was not revealed until Rastius and I burst out onto the roof of the keep and Rastius let out a blood-curdling, although somewhat pantomime in character, laugh. Over on the castle parapets every archer mouse had given up his or her longbow in favour of busying through what appeared to be an impromptu buffet.
Seems the rats had finally managed to outwit us this year by taking delivery of a skillfully engineered trebuchet from Medieval Weaponries R Us, which had arrived via courier van at half past four. As hampers brimming with do-it-yourself fondue sets, cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, mini party pies, vegetable crudités and mango syllabubs winged their way towards the curtain walls, every available mouse downed tools to go in search of trestle tables and freshly laundered linens, thus leaving way for the rats to scale the battlements and fly their flag of victory to signify the end of the battle.
As losers of this year’s campaign the mice are duty bound to cook a roast dinner for the rats on the first Sunday of every month for the next year. It’s a forfeit they’ll undertake without complaint as all rodents enjoy a good get together.
The Battle of Tankerton Castle 2016
RATS 1 – MICE 0
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